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Cosmetic Perjury
October 9, 2007

Matt Demers - 23:44 EST

THANKSGIVING HAS COME and gone. In its wake? Not really very much. As has become a regular phenomenon lately, I did no RPGaming over the weekend, opting instead to indulge in board games and family time. One dayyyy~

One thing before I begin: Tomorrow is going to be an incredibly busy day. Due to reasons ranging from a doctor's appointment to class to the Ontario Election, I'm going to be "lazy" again, and there will be no Q&A column (at least, none written by me). I'll return on Thursday.

Yeah, so, what's happened while I was away? A few new screens, and that's all, it seems. Meh. OK, let's look at the mail.

I will build a monument to non-existence!

Hi Matt,

If you were able to write yourself into a video game as a playable character, which game would you choose and why? Is there one that best matches who you are that you'd make a natural fit into the game, or would you want to be part of a game because you were so different that you'd alter the face of its video game reality? Or would you just want to have a certain in-game ability or meet another character as if they were real or something?

....Has anyone asked that before? Sometimes I wonder how frustrating it would be to get the same question repeatedly.

Anyway, 'til next time.



Oh, are you kidding me? What a great question- I think it largely depends on my mood, though. There are some times where I swear I'd love to be Kefka and obtain awesomely powerful magic; trust me, I know a few people who I'd love to blast with a Light of Judgment. Of course, I'd do things differently than him- like, for instance, rearrange or remove the switches in my tower so that I'm not conveniently accessible. Kefka's errors will be my strength!

Hmm. It does, by the way, start out a little bit annoying when people ask you the same questions all the time, but you really get used to it as time goes by. It's part of the Q&A landscape. Besides, if someone has asked me that question specifically before, it's been a long while.

New hot topic: Check! Thanks, Josh.

Sock, fate, and another DS game.

Hope your Thanksgiving was good! Ours ain't for another month and a half... It's good to think that SOCK will still be going by then. Hopefully it'll still run for quite a bit after that - we need to beat down the SIA! (By the way, any updates on SOCK 3 possibilities? You mentioned some a while back.)


Yes, it'll certainly still be going strong then, though by the end of November, I expect that we'll be quite a bit closer to a victory, at long last. I'm excited, but we'll have to wait and see what happens!

As for a sequel? I'm leaving the site shortly after the big ol' contest is done with, so *if* ever there is such a contest, it probably won't be here...

How are you liking the FFTA2 stuff so far? Yeah, it may look like the same old, but I'm excited. Not only will blue magic be in it, but it also looks like a far bigger quest. Considering how long I put into FFTA, length is good! With any luck, FFTA's rerelease for PSP will boost its chances of coming here even further.


FFTA2 has the funniest name ever. I'm secretly delighted that they kept around the GBA suffix, even though this game has nothing to do with the system. A little nerdy, even for me, but I think it's exciting.

Despite the fact that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (the original) failed to live up to many people's expectations, and that there were some disappointing things about it, there were also many things that I quite enjoyed. The new screens remind me so strongly of the original game that happy memories are being conjured up. I'm getting excited too.

(By the way, a long time back, I mentioned my difficulties in trying to find used copies of FFTA in stores. Not long afterwards, I started seeing them EVERYWHERE, including places that hadn't had them in the months before! What the heck is up with that?)


Hmm, that is weird. Perhaps the "greater world" responded to your earlier search. You know, fate realized that it forgot about the game once you went searching for it, and then tried to overcompensate after noticing its error. Or, maybe, it was just random chance. OR, maybe people found a way-more-awesome tactical RPG or two for the GBA (*cough* Fire Emblem*) and deposited their used copies of FFTA at the nearest Gamestop.

If someone would return my crystal ball, I could tell you much more easily, but it's in the Waterfall Cave. Somebody... get it for me.

Yeah, this is definitely not me.

I'd just like to say that it is extremely refreshing to read the rantings of a guest columnist filled with so much hatred. Lusipurr seems to have only two modes, "Neutral" and "Rage", and I didn't see a whole lot of Neutral. Really great stuff. I can't imagine Matt getting really, truly, balls-to-the-wall angry over anything save the cancellation of Dragon Quest, and Sean, though quick to dismiss stupid questions, tends to keep his cool as well. Lusipurr arrived unapologetically pissed off for no good reason, groundlessly attacked every one of his readers (including the revered JuMeSyn), and raged on outta there leaving a wake of RPWreckage, and I loved every brutal, condescending second of it. Although I'm glad I chose not to write in.


The first reaction I had to this paragraph was to come up with some humourously enraged retort in which I wouldn't actually be enraged at all. Then, I realized that I don't have the capability to produce one that sounds remotely believable. So, I passed.

You know what it reminded me of? The good old classic days of Q&A, in which holes would be regularly torn in many readers for the sake of humour. The drama queens out there would probably get all upset, but most people would realize that it's just in good fun. And then *I* came along and sissified the place by making it "all white-magey," as somebody once told me. I dunno if that's a good thing, but it's a thing.

Maybe Lusipurr was secretly auditioning to fill my boots once this White Mage bows out? You'll have to wait and see...

So I've picked up Dragon Quest VIII again out of desperation for something to hold my attention, and I'm still not really sure what to make of it. As I've mentioned before, I like a good, involving story in my RPGs (FF7 is still my favorite story, and no I'm not an FF7-4-Lyfe member), and Dragon Quest really doesn't have that so far. And while maybe it's not supposed to, it seems like they could have upped the value of the game considerably if they'd put some effort into a legitimate story to accompany the awesome voice acting (except for green machine King Trodain, who can jump off a bridge), graphics, and gameplay. DQVIII is sort of a paradox to me: it's unexpectedly difficult to the point that I find myself dying pretty regularly, an unusual occurrence in RPGs these days, and yet all of the spells are variations on the word "Kerplunk." Huh? It remains to be seen how far I'll get into the game this time. On a different note, I'd like to nominate Jessica for hottest RPG character; she has tremendous breasts and a sexy accent.


They are rather perky, aren't they?

Dragon Quest is paced differently from a lot of other RPGs, and notably, the mainstream FF games. Some say that they're an acquired taste, and others say that they aren't for everyone. I'd agree with both to an extent, but I still think that VIII is the most accessible to people who are new to the series.

The story is simple, yet it contains a few interesting and unexpected twists, and the bonus material after the end of the game rounds everything off in an extremely satisfying way. It's no Xenosaga, but I preferred the story arc of DQVIII to games like FFXII, to be perfectly honest (and looking at it completely objectively; not as my um, fanboy self).

I'd say keep it going, but don't push yourself to play anything you aren't having fun playing- it entirely defeats the purpose of the games.

Here's a tangent for you, although it may end up not being relevant to the column: did you (and by "you" I mean Matt or Sean, and hopefully not Lusipurr) ever play any of the Lucasarts PC adventure games back in the day? Or any PC adventure games? Cause they were the bees knees. I got one of the Lucasarts collections for my 9th birthday, and all five of the included games (Monkey Island, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Zak McCracken, Loom, and Maniac Mansion) were bombass, not to mention unbelievably difficult for a nine-year-old. I still play those games every now and then, along with their sequels (Monkey Island 2 through 5 or something, Day of the Tentacle) and other adventure games like the Kyrandia series. Oh, and Full Throttle. Full Throttle was the shit. And Grim Fandango. Grim Fandango was the shit.


Don't worry... nearly anything is relevant to this column, trust me. I've talked about so much random crap on here that I can't remember it all.

It's an awesome question, too, because I used to LOVE adventure games incredibly. Maniac Mansion was simply awesome. My brother, sister, cousin Tara, and myself, would play the game whenever we'd adventure to Grandma's house; as many of you know, she had the NES I didn't have for a long time, and introduced me to RPGaming in the first place. Maniac Mansion was difficult, hilarious, creepy, slightly scary, and the sum of all of these things was wonderful.

I've played a little bit of Monkey Island, thanks to Ourobolus, but it seemed more like something that was randomly thrown-together than the King's Quest and Space Quest games that I grew up on (and LOVED). Playing potentially-deadly Slot Machines and working at Intergalactic hamburger joints in order to earn money to buy your very own droids? Yes please.

I haven't played of some of the other ones you mentioned, but that's a whole genre of gaming that my five-year-old self was a huge fan of before I ever knew what Dragon Warrior was.

Does the Bighead Mode nature of the Final Fantasy remakes not upset you? I'd much prefer solid, top-down 2D graphics to Bighead Mode. Also, which of the Final Fantasy games pre-FFVI would you recommend to someone who has never played any of them I through V? Keep in mind I like stories, so mindless crystal hunting for the sheer joy of crystal hunting isn't my bag.



Nah, not really. Proportionally speaking, the "big head" polygon-people aren't too terribly different from their sprite versions, which were at least one-third head as well. And graphically, they aren't too terribly far off the mark from Final Fantasy VII. Seeing the environments in full-3D gorgeousness is so exciting to me, and seeing those FMVs is just a joy- so the relatively low polygon count in some of the characters isn't all that distressing.

If you're looking for a decent story that goes beyond "crystal-collecting," Final Fantasy IV or V will do the trick, though IV is a little quicker and sharper. Both, however, are pretty phenomenal, and indicate well the direction that FF would take in the years after their production. FFVI was, though, the first which really leapt forward in that respect, so definitely expect the games to feel a little different from those you're familiar with.

While I, II, and III might not be up your alley, it's definitely wrong to assume that you're crystal-hunting for the sake of crystal hunting in any of them. There's more to each story, for sure (and II doesn't even have Crystals- though, it has enough other issues). If you're bored sometime, it doesn't hurt to try. Otherwise, IV and V are the games you're looking for, with an emphasis, perhaps, on IV.

Thanks, RuFIO! I saved you from the wrath of demon-cat Lusipurr. (I assume he's a demon-cat, anyway, based on his name.)

In an RPG world...

Dear Matt,

I just wanted to let you know that if you really want to play Fatal Frame (and the sequels) they are also available for the PS2.

Oh and to keep this on the topic of RPG's, if this world were more like an RPG world then we would all have the ability to run all over the world and never get tired. Ever.

Also no more bathrooms.



Not only could you run all over the world- you could do it while NEVER eating, while resting only to refill your HP (not necessarily every day- though I guess that depends on whether there's a day-night cycle in play or not).

And yes, no more bathrooms. This is exactly why you see your characters with the bottom half faded out as you travel over forests in RPGs with overworlds... secretly, I'll bet they're doing their business while they're partially hidden from view.

I should play! And finally... I can.

I have a very good reason that you should play Persona 3. Me. Let me be more specific.

I hate random dungeon games. I always have. I hated Azure Dreams for the PS1. I hated Evolution for the Dreamcast. If it had random dungeons, I didn't like it (but at least I tried them). I love Persona 3. WTF?! Sure daily life can be monotonous, but the pacing and the awesome Megaten battle system have addicted me to a game that on paper I would have avoided like the plague. I really can't pinpoint it, but the game has "it."


And "it" is the one thing that all great games should have. No, I know what you mean. A lot of games can have a lot of great things going for it, but they just lack a certain overall spark... the "it"... to really ignite the greatness-fire. Random dungeons are a distressing idea for me, but it looks like the game is set up so that you never have to repeat floors, thankfully.

Um, my brother just got this game for his birthday, so I'll definitely have the opportunity to play! I know I speak of this often nowadays, but you can probably guess what I'll be doing with a lot of my newfound free time once I've finished up with RPGamer in a couple of months.

I have to respectfully counter Anthony here. The daily tasks seem monotonous, but they're not pointless. Since raising social links directly corrolates to persona growth it's worthwhile to pursue them. The quests are never really difficult, they cleverly mask level grinding, and the rewards are totally worth it. 650,000 yen for killing a few easy-to-encounter monsters? I'm there. Also, you may not use a persona for very long, but the new ones usually have better variations of your current skills. It's like a demonic pokemon. My only gripe is that they still use the exact same creature models from all the other PS2 Megaten games.


Mmm, demonic Pokémon. Using those Personas is kind of disturbing, though, I have to admit; it's more than a little bizarre to watch an anime character blast themselves in the head with a gun, all to upbeat jazzy music. I was watching my idiot brother while he was playing, and my dad walked in the room and started watching intently. He's always been rather anti-violence in games, but rather than, you know, going into his menu screen and pretending to do something there, Chris decided to get into a battle and blast himself in the head. Of course, Dad started going on... "What the hell kind of game is this?!?" and on and on. *sigh* Stupidity.

On another note I have a reason to get a kick out of the school life aspect of the game. I'm 26 and I'm a middle school teacher. I'm not so far removed from school to not remember what it was like, and it blows my mind that the personality of the teachers match some of the people I work with, like the ditzy math teacher, and the guy who is so into one part of the curriculum that he completely glosses over much of the material to get to the good stuff. The main plot is sparse, but there are jaw-dropping moments that even FFXII couldn't pull off.


Oh, I've already seen some of this- it excites me greatly. I watched Chris' character correspond with an online friend over the weekend, and the conversation was so clever and hilarious. I loved it. Apparently too, he told me that you actually have to KNOW real-life facts in order to answer questions correctly in class, and so on, which rubs me the right way.

Seriously Matt, does Gamefly ship out to Canada, or is there some other service out there? We can scream all we want about how bad or good a game is, but there are cost effective ways to try before you buy. I suggest you do it.


Ah, I'm sure that there is some service- maybe slightly more expensive, but nothing unreasonable. Luckily, though, I might be able to do the absolutely-free and non-hassle borrowing thing instead, as it turns out. Yay!

Oh, and I'm really going to try to complete Nocturne for real. That game is very unforgiving and it's not a real good "first" Megaten game. It almost turned me off to the series, but now that I'm familiar with its systems (too spoiled on FF, kudos to the noob friendly Digital Devil Saga), I think I can handle it.



Heh, actually, it's funny you mention it. I know this is going to sound like such a "Chris did, Chris said" answer, but it's true: His first SMT game was Nocturne, you see. He said that while everything in Digital Devil Saga pretty much improved on those old things, there are a few things about Persona 3, after the first few hours, which heavily remind him of the old unforgiving Nocturne. I've always been curious, but I've never gone for it- as you well know. The day is coming, though.


Don't worry Matt, there's still hope for mankind! Here's a Link


I swear that half of those are things I've seen in my real-life marking experiences. Are you sure there's hope for us all? Hey, at least people have healthy senses of humour.


So, my question to all of you is this: Which RPG character would you take control of, if you could be written into any game you like? Thanks to Joshua for that one; this is the new hot topic for today.

And, until Thursday, I bid you all a fond farewell.

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